Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS5312150 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/069,538
Publication dateMay 17, 1994
Filing dateJun 1, 1993
Priority dateJun 1, 1993
Fee statusPaid
Also published asCA2124308A1, CA2124308C
Publication number069538, 08069538, US 5312150 A, US 5312150A, US-A-5312150, US5312150 A, US5312150A
InventorsLeVerne Quam
Original AssigneeQuam Leverne
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pickup truck tailgate with stair
US 5312150 A
Abstract
A tailgate for enclosing a pickup truck bed includes a sheet metal wall having upper and lower edges and opposite sides, and a stair with at least two steps integrally formed in the wall and extending between the opposite sides. Side walls are mounted on the opposite sides of the sheet metal wall. The lower edge of the tailgate includes a mount for mounting the tailgate to the pickup truck bed for pivotal motion between open and closed positions. A latch on the wall releasably secures the tailgate to the truck bed in the closed position. Flexible cables hold the tailgate in the open position with the steps horizontally orientated.
Images(1)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. A pickup truck tailgate, including:
a sheet material wall having first and second opposite surfaces, upper and lower edges and opposite sides, wherein the first surface functions as a truck bed rear wall surface and the second surface functions as an exterior tailgate surface;
a mount on the lower edge of the sheet material wall for mounting the tailgate to the bed of the vehicle for pivotal motion between open and closed positions;
a latch for latching the tailgate to the bed of the vehicle when the tailgate is in the closed position; and
a stair including at least two steps in the sheet material wall extending between the opposite sides of the wall.
2. The tailgate of claim 1 wherein the stair is formed as bends in the sheet material wall.
3. The tailgate of claim 1 wherein:
the tailgate further includes a tube extending across the lower edge of the wall; and
the mount includes pivot blushing in the ends of the tube.
4. The tailgate of claim 1 and further including a tube extending across the upper edge of the wall.
5. The tailgate in claim 1 wherein the stair includes an upper step above a bumper and below the bed of the vehicle when the tailgate is in the open position.
6. The tailgate of claim 5 wherein the stair includes a lower step below an upper edge of the vehicle bumper and behind the vehicle bumper when the tailgate is in the open position.
7. The tailgate of claim 1 wherein the stair includes two steps.
8. The tailgate of claim 1 and further including a latch for releasably latching the tailgate to the vehicle bed in the closed position.
9. The tailgate of claim 1 and further including a support for supporting the tailgate in the open position with the steps oriented horizontally.
10. The tailgate of claim 1 and further including friction enhancing material on the stair.
11. The tailgate of claim 1 and further including side walls on the opposite sides of the sheet material wall.
12. A tailgate for enclosing a pickup truck bed, including:
a sheet metal wall having first and second opposite surfaces, upper and lower edges and opposite sides, wherein the first surface functions as a truck bed rear wall surface, and the second surface functions as an exterior tailgate surface;
a stair including at least two steps integrally formed in the sheet metal wall and extending between the opposite sides;
a mount on the lower edge of the sheet metal wall for mounting the tailgate to the pickup truck bed for pivotal motion between open and closed positions;
a latch on the wall for releasably latching the tailgate to the pickup truck bed in the closed position; and
a support for holding the tailgate in the open position with the steps horizontally oriented.
13. The tailgate of claim 12 wherein the stair includes only upper and lower steps, the upper step positioned above a bumper of the pickup and below the bed when the tailgate is in the open position, and the lower step positioned below an upper edge of the bumper and behind the bumper when the tailgate is in the open position.
14. The tailgate of claim 12 wherein:
the tailgate further includes a tube mounted to the lower edge of the sheet metal wall; and
the mount include a mechanism for pivotally mounting ends of the tube to the pickup truck.
15. The tailgate of claim 12 wherein the latch includes spring-biased pins for engaging the pickup truck bed.
16. The tailgate of claim 12 and further including friction enhancing material on the stair.
17. The tailgate of claim 12 and further including side walls on the sheet metal wall.
18. A pickup truck having a bed and a tailgate for enclosing the bed, the tailgate including:
a sheet material wall having first and second opposite surfaces, upper and lower edges and opposite sides, wherein the first surface functions as a truck bed rear wall surface, and the second surface functions as an exterior tailgate surface;
a stair including at least two steps in the sheet material wall and extending between the opposite sides;
a mount on he lower edge of the sheet material wall for mounting the tailgate to the pickup truck bed for pivotal motion between open and closed positions;
a latch on the sheet material wall for releasably latching the tailgate to the pickup truck bed in the closed position;
a support for holding the tailgate in the open position with the steps horizontally oriented.
19. The pickup truck of claim 18 wherein:
the pickup truck further includes a rear bumper; and
a stair in the tailgate includes only upper and lower steps, the upper step positioned above a bumper of the pickup truck and below the bed when the tailgate is in the open position, and the lower step positioned below an upper edge of the bumper and behind the bumper when the tailgate is in the open position.
20. The pickup truck of claim 19 wherein the tailgate further includes sidewalls on the opposite sides of the sheet material wall.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to tailgates for vehicle beds. In particular, the present invention is a pickup truck tailgate with an integral stair.

The use of a step mounted on a pickup truck tailgate to assist people entering and exiting the truck bed is generally known. One such tailgate step is disclosed in the Sleger U.S. Pat. No. 2,991,118. This step is in the form of a V-shaped piece of sheet metal bolted to the tailgate of the vehicle. It is somewhat bulky, and will occupy space and possibly interfere with cargo carried within the truck bed.

The Dawes U.S. Pat. No. 4,444,429 discloses a recreational unit for vehicle beds. The tailgate of the unit includes a step. However, the step extends rearwardly from the vehicle when the tailgate is raised, and is therefore poorly suited for pickup trucks.

The Criley U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,487 discloses a foldable step which is mounted to the tailgate of a pickup truck. This step is relatively complicated in construction.

It is evident that there is a need for an improved tailgate step. The step which should occupy relatively little space within the truck bed. To be commercially viable it must also be rugged and efficient to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a rugged tailgate with a stair that occupies little, if any, more space within the vehicle bed than conventional tailgates. The tailgate is also capable of being efficiently manufactured. In one embodiment the tailgate includes a wall for enclosing the bed of the vehicle. The wall is mounted to the bed of the vehicle for pivotal motion between open and closed positions by a mount. A latch is used to secure the tailgate to the vehicle in the closed position. A stair including at least two steps extends between opposite sides of the wall.

In a preferred embodiment the stair is an integral unit formed as bends in the wall. When the tailgate is in the open position the stair includes an upper step above a bumper and below the bed of the vehicle, and a lower step below an upper edge of the vehicle bumper and behind the vehicle bumper. Flexible cables support the tailgate in the open position with the steps oriented horizontally.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of the back of a pickup truck including a tailgate with stair in accordance with the present invention, with the tailgate shown in the open position.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of the pickup truck and tailgate shown in FIG. 1, with the tailgate in the closed position.

FIG. 3 is a detailed side view of one side of the lower edge of the tailgate, illustrating the pivot mount.

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of the latch shown in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A tailgate 10 with stair 12 in accordance with the present invention is illustrated on a pickup truck 14 in FIGS. 1 and 2. Tailgate 10 is pivotally mounted to the back of truck bed 16 which includes floor 18 and side walls 20 and 22. When in the closed position shown in FIG. 2, tailgate 10 functions in a conventional manner to enclose the back of truck bed 16. When in the open position shown in FIG. 1, stair 12 can be used to conveniently enter and exit truck bed 16.

Tailgate 10 includes a sheet metal wall 26 which forms both the inner surface 28 and outer surface 30 of the tailgate. Stair 12 is formed in wall 26 and is fabricated by bending the sheet metal which forms the wall. Stair 12 is therefore integral with wall 26.

In the embodiment shown, stair 12 includes two steps 32 and 34, each having a riser section R and a step section S extending between the opposite sides of tailgate 10. Riser sections R of steps 32 and 34 form right angles with the adjacent step sections S in the illustrated embodiment. Side walls 36 and 38 are welded to the opposite sides of stair 12 and are sized to extend upwardly from step sections S of the stair when tailgate 10 is in the open position shown in FIG. 1. Strips of friction enhancing material 39 can be applied to step sections S of steps 32 and 34 to help ensure proper footing by persons using stair 12.

When tailgate 10 is open, riser section R of upper step 32 extends downwardly from a position immediately behind truck bed floor 18. Step section S of upper step 32 extends rearwardly from riser section R of the upper step, to a position beyond the rearward end of truck bumper 40. Riser section R of lower step 34 extends downwardly from step section S of upper step 32 to a position below the upper edge of bumper 40. Step section S of lower step 34 extend rearwardly from riser section R of the lower step. This configuration positions upper step 32 above bumper 40 and below truck bed 18, and lower step 34 behind the bumper and between the upper edge of the bumper and the ground.

As shown in FIG. 3, a metal tube 42 is welded to the free end of riser section R of upper step 32. Tube 42 thereby forms the lower edge of tailgate 10. The free end of riser section R of upper step 32 is bent to fit around metal tube 42 at the location of the weld. Tailgate 10 is configured to be mounted to truck bed 14 in a conventional manner so it can be sold as an aftermarket unit for replacement of the original vehicle tailgate. Accordingly, plastic bushings 43 are secured within the opposite ends of tube 42 (only one is shown in FIG. 3), and include bores 44 sized to receive pivot pins (not shown) extending from the truck bed side walls 20 and 22 adjacent floor 18. A slot 46 extends through the sides of bushing 43 and tube 42 into communication with the bore 44 on one side of tailgate 10, to facilitate the mounting of the tailgate on pickup truck 14 in a conventional manner.

A metal tube 48 is welded to the free end of step section S of lower step 34, and forms the upper edge of tailgate 10. The free end of step section S of the lower step 34 is bent to fit around a portion of tube 48 at the location of the weld. Inserts 50 are secured within the opposite ends of tube 48. Tailgate 10 is configured in such a manner that tube 48 is at the same height as the upper edges of truck bed walls 20 and 22 when tailgate 10 is closed.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, latch pins 52 are mounted within slide housings 54 on each side wall 36 and 38 of tailgate 10. The latch pins 52 extend through apertures in side walls 36 and 38, and are biased outwardly from the side walls by springs (not visible) within housings 54. Tailgate 10 is latched in its closed position (FIG. 2) by pins 52 which extend into apertures or recesses conventionally found in truck bed side walls 20 and 22. Chains 56 are simultaneously pulled to remove pins 52 from the apertures against the bias force of the springs when it is desired to open tailgate 10. Tapered edges on the ends of pins 52 facing truck bed 18 engage truck bed side walls 20 and 22 and urge the pins inwardly when tailgate 10 is forced into its closed position. Chains 56 therefore need not be pulled while closing tailgate 10. Flexible cables 58 extending between truck bed sidewalls 20 and 22 and lugs 60 on the sidewalls 36 and 38 of tailgate 10 support the tailgate in its open position. Cables 58 are sized so step sections S of stair 12 are at a level orientation when tailgate 10 is open.

Tailgates with stairs in accordance with the present invention have considerable advantages over those of the prior art. The stair occupies little, if any, more space than conventional tailgates. It therefore does not reduce the amount of cargo space available in the truck bed. Since it has no moving or foldable components, the stair will be relatively maintenance free. The stair also adds strength to the wall of the tailgate. Furthermore, the tailgate can be efficiently fabricated.

Although the present invention had been described with reference to preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1639879 *Apr 1, 1926Aug 23, 1927Buffington Leonard CCombined end gate and ramp
US2721345 *Nov 5, 1952Oct 25, 1955Aken Gerald DBoat stairs
US2991118 *May 1, 1959Jul 4, 1961Louis SlegerTail gate step
US3176334 *Aug 28, 1961Apr 6, 1965Kenneth P LovdahlCollapsible ramp and stair units
US3392990 *Dec 21, 1965Jul 16, 1968Gordon E. WolfRetractable camper body door step
US3539033 *Aug 12, 1968Nov 10, 1970Hendon Construction CoRetractable ladder and closure for an above ground swimming pool
US3610658 *Aug 22, 1969Oct 5, 1971Sartori Osvaldo FStairway and wheel carrier for truck campers
US3895838 *Sep 4, 1973Jul 22, 1975Hamada BenTailgate mount
US3900118 *May 20, 1974Aug 19, 1975Kellogg James RLoading tailgate for trucks
US4021071 *May 16, 1975May 3, 1977Norman Thomas WSelf-storing step structure for vehicular mounting
US4125284 *Feb 28, 1977Nov 14, 1978Outboard Marine CorporationVehicle with convertible step and foot rest
US4161997 *Mar 2, 1977Jul 24, 1979Norman Thomas WSelf-storing step structure for vehicular mounting
US4216725 *Nov 13, 1978Aug 12, 1980Pullman IncorporatedCombination door and emergency stairway exit
US4275664 *Sep 26, 1979Jun 30, 1981Vapor CorporationStep-platform operation
US4441754 *Feb 17, 1982Apr 10, 1984Thyssen Industrie AktiengesellschaftRear door for armored vehicles
US4444429 *Mar 25, 1982Apr 24, 1984Industrial Financial GroupRecreational unit for vehicle beds
US4527941 *Sep 6, 1983Jul 9, 1985Vrp Partners, Ltd.Expandable support structure usable as loading ramp
US4569533 *Aug 8, 1984Feb 11, 1986Coachmen Industries, Inc.Van step
US4615275 *Nov 19, 1984Oct 7, 1986Kawasaki Jukogyo Kabushiki KaishaEmergency exit apparatus
US4757876 *Feb 24, 1987Jul 19, 1988Peacock William DFoldable tail gate step assembly
US4846487 *Apr 6, 1987Jul 11, 1989Criley Ronald LTailgate step for pickup trucks
US4848821 *Jun 20, 1988Jul 18, 1989Llewellyn Anthony STailgate ladder
US4864673 *Jul 12, 1988Sep 12, 1989David AdawayFolding ramp
US5133584 *May 6, 1991Jul 28, 1992Mccleary Dennis MFolding gate ramp for pickup trucks
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5617930 *Apr 6, 1995Apr 8, 1997Elia; FrancisLadder assembly for a tailgate of a truck
US5975610 *Aug 5, 1998Nov 2, 1999Tracy; Mark AlanSeating apparatus for a tailgate
US6267429Oct 27, 2000Jul 31, 2001Ford Global Technologies, Inc.Multi-position vehicle tailgate assembly
US6460915Oct 11, 2000Oct 8, 2002Ford Global Technologies, Inc.Integrated bed side step assembly for vehicles
US6471002Dec 4, 2000Oct 29, 2002The Eastern CompanyFolding foot step with anti-skid surface
US6810979 *Oct 11, 2002Nov 2, 2004Volvo Articulated Haulers AbPropulsion engine housing
US6857680 *Jul 22, 2003Feb 22, 2005Daimlerchrysler CorporationIntegrated step for a vehicle cargo area
US6964444 *May 24, 2004Nov 15, 2005William M. ChumleyApparatus and method for accessing and extending a truck bed
US6966597 *Dec 19, 2003Nov 22, 2005Tegtmeier Paul HTailgate assembly with integral steps
US7055838May 19, 2003Jun 6, 2006Lambie Ken CFolding tailgate mounted step assembly
US7073837Dec 9, 2004Jul 11, 2006Madlinger David LMulti-purpose tailgate for a vehicle
US7232173 *Oct 4, 2005Jun 19, 2007Magna International Inc.Step tailgate and mounting hardware
US7240947 *May 20, 2005Jul 10, 2007John KuznarikCompact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder
US7401833 *Apr 3, 2006Jul 22, 2008Nissan Technical Center North America, Inc.Cargo bed step
US7516997Nov 19, 2007Apr 14, 2009John KuznarikCompact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder
US7658266Jul 25, 2005Feb 9, 2010Norfolk Southern CorporationTruck bed staircase device
US7735894May 7, 2007Jun 15, 2010Honda Motor Company, Ltd.Tailgate assemblies and vehicles including same
US7883306 *Sep 18, 2008Feb 8, 2011Cessna Aircraft CompanyAttachment bolt and tensioned support system using same
US7909381May 3, 2010Mar 22, 2011Honda Motor Company, Ltd.Tailgate assemblies and vehicles including same
US8511734 *Jun 30, 2006Aug 20, 2013Chrysler Group LlcDeployable tailgate ramp
US9340932 *Mar 7, 2014May 17, 2016Hamm AgSoil compactor with storage space
US9352639Oct 17, 2014May 31, 2016Halcore Group, Inc.Service vehicle door system
US20030051931 *Oct 11, 2002Mar 20, 2003Volvo Articulated Haulers AbPropulsion engine housing
US20040113450 *Jul 22, 2003Jun 17, 2004Fielding Russell C.Integrated step for a vehicle cargo area
US20040183326 *Dec 19, 2003Sep 23, 2004Tegtmeier Paul H.Tailgate assembly with integral steps
US20040232649 *May 19, 2003Nov 25, 2004Lambie Ken C.Folding tailgate mounted step assembly
US20050006921 *May 24, 2004Jan 13, 2005Chumley William M.Apparatus and method for accessing and extending a truck bed
US20060125270 *Dec 9, 2004Jun 15, 2006Madlinger David LMulti-purpose tailgate for a vehicle
US20060261622 *May 20, 2005Nov 23, 2006John KuznarikCompact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder
US20060261623 *May 18, 2006Nov 23, 2006John KuznarikCompact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder
US20070075560 *Oct 4, 2005Apr 5, 2007Magna International Inc.Step tailgate and mounting hardware
US20070228761 *Apr 3, 2006Oct 4, 2007Dryja Richard JCargo bed step
US20080042464 *Jun 30, 2006Feb 21, 2008Hutchins Jr F PeterDeployable Tailgate Ramp
US20080136208 *Nov 19, 2007Jun 12, 2008John KuznarikCompact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder
US20080277958 *May 7, 2007Nov 13, 2008King Darin DTailgate assemblies and vehicles including same
US20100064473 *Sep 18, 2008Mar 18, 2010Cessna Aircraft CompanyAttachment Bolt And Tensioned Support System Using Same
US20100207415 *May 3, 2010Aug 19, 2010King Darin DTailgate assemblies and vehicles including same
US20140110193 *Oct 24, 2012Apr 24, 2014Deere & CompanyFolding step assembly
US20140301785 *Mar 7, 2014Oct 9, 2014Hamm AgSoil compactor
Classifications
U.S. Classification296/62, 296/57.1
International ClassificationB62D33/027, B60R3/02
Cooperative ClassificationB60R3/02, B62D33/0273
European ClassificationB62D33/027A, B60R3/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 31, 1994ASAssignment
Owner name: SORENSON, LEIF T., WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUAM, LEVERNE M.;REEL/FRAME:007000/0804
Effective date: 19940516
Aug 16, 1994CCCertificate of correction
May 5, 1997ASAssignment
Owner name: STEPGATE, INC., SOUTH DAKOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUAM, LEVERNE M.;REEL/FRAME:008489/0876
Effective date: 19970225
Owner name: STEPGATE, INC., SOUTH DAKOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SORENSON, LEIF T.;REEL/FRAME:008519/0852
Effective date: 19970226
May 18, 1998FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
May 18, 1998SULPSurcharge for late payment
Oct 31, 2001FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Nov 9, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12